Nottingham Civic Society

caring for the city

This introduction to the draft Local List explains the background against which the draft was produced.  It is a slightly adapted version of an article which first appeared in the Nottingham Civic Society’s Newsletter No. 150 (January 2013.)
Listing of national assets
 
People generally are aware that buildings judged to be important are officially “listed” and that such listing (in 3 Grades) provides a degree of protection within the planning laws against demolition, alteration etc.
 
The Register of Listed Buildings kept by English Heritage shows more than 800 entries for the City of Nottingham, though this figure must be treated with caution as a single entry might cover more than an individual building (e.g. a terrace, a cemetery) or something less (e.g. a boundary wall, a railing, a tomb in a churchyard.)
 
Hence the inevitable piece of jargon “heritage asset”, which though intended to cover all categories, nonetheless seems to be used interchangeably with “building” in official documents.
 
Heritage assets of national importance are graded I, II* or II and itemised in the list, together with details of site, date of listing etc, and a paragraph (sometimes using quite “technical” language) justifying the listing.  Mostly there is no photograph, though this desirable feature is an aspiration and there is a separate website showing many. 
 
The City of Nottingham incidentally has 9 entries awarded Grade I, 38 Grade II* and 755 Grade II.  The percentages in each grade are not far from those in England overall.  
 
Listing of Local Assets
 
What of those heritage assets which are not judged to be of national importance but which are important to the local community?  A booklet published in May 2012 aims to answer that question.  Entitled A Good Practice Guide to Listing Local Heritage Assets, it sets out to encourage local people to identify such assets and to encourage Local Planning Authorities and communities to work together to create Local Heritage Lists
 
The Guide suggests that initial consultation should take place to establish selection criteria, but it is clear that selection would depend on positive answers to questions such as the following:
 
Does the heritage asset have links with local or national history, or a figure of historical importance? Does it have aesthetic value?  Is it valuable as a landmark? as part of a group?  Is it part of “the local scene“, thereby contributing to Nottingham’s identity?
 
The question of age or date will also arise: Is it old enough?  Nearly 97% of England’s listed buildings are of the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; only 3% are of the twentieth.  Nottingham’s older buildings are all on the English Heritage list, as are many of the nineteenth century and a select few of the twentieth century.  The compilation of a Local List offers opportunities to “notice” more of the Victorian and Edwardian buildings which contribute so much to the character of Nottingham, and to recognise the value of some of the buildings of the Twenties, Thirties and later decades.
 
What about buildings already in a Conservation Area?  The Guide says that Heritage Assets can be added to a Local List regardless of whether they are sited in Conservation Areas.  If an unlisted building has already been identified as making a positive contribution to the character of a Conservation Area, it is clearly a suitable candidate for the Local List.  
The Benefits of listing Local Heritage Assets  
 
Inclusion in the Local List would not bring the same degree of protection offered to buildings on the English Heritage list, but the National Planning Policy Framework does advise Local Planning Authorities to set out a possible strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment in the Local Plan.  If a Local Heritage Asset is affected by a planning application, the Local Planning Authority (the City Council) must “make a balanced judgment, having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the Local Heritage Asset”.
 
Getting started on a Local List
 
As already mentioned, the Guide calls for a process of public participation whereby eligible assets  are identified and a draft list compiled and presented to the Local Planning Authority for acceptance and incorporation into the Local Plan.
 
Nottingham Civic Society, as one voice within the local community, has taken the lead in formulating a response to the ideas of the Guide and has produced a draft list for consultation.
 
Its core is a list drawn up about 20 years ago by officers in the City Council’s Planning Department, no doubt for internal information and guidance.  The version obtained by the Civic Society was a list of addresses needing much amendment.  Obvious typos have been corrected and the order of the entries has been tidied up.  Some entries have been deleted where buildings are known to have been demolished (e.g. the old Evening Post building) or “promoted” to the statutory list (e.g. the Newton Building.)  There are no doubt further such corrections to be made, perhaps some very obvious ones!
 
The draft list also contains new nominations, the result of work carried out over recent months, the aim of which has been  to identify buildings or other assets deserving of inclusion in an updated, more comprehensive list. We are sure that there are many other assets that could or should be added.
 
Contributions invited!
 
We would like to know what people think of our draft list.  Have you any amendments to suggest, any information to add or any comments to make?  If so, please use the form below.
 
To check on Nottingham’s listed buildings, go to www.english-heritage.org.uk 
Click on Caring for Heritage , then I want to search the Heritage List.  Choose Advanced Search, then Location.  Go for option Unitary Authority and click on City of Nottingham.